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Tony Grist

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Intervening In Syria [Sep. 1st, 2013|09:38 am]
Tony Grist
I've always thought it unlikely that Assad would use chemical weapons. Why would he needlessly cross Obama's red line? He's a murderous despot but surely he's not stupid?

I'm picking up rumours, whispers, that the chemical weapons were supplied to a tame rebel outfit by the Saudis and that the rebels either deployed them- with a view to landing Assad in the shit-  or set them off by accident. I don't know the status of these reports (you'll find them at a site called Zero Hedge) but they're not implausible.

Peter Hitchens  has a good line about the armed response that Cameron was deflected from and Obama has deferred. "The Good Samaritan," he writes, "Didn't have a gun".
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Comments:
From: (Anonymous)
2013-09-01 06:25 pm (UTC)
It's a nice line, but not really analagous to this situation. The Good Samaritan didn't have a murderous despot to contend with. Even Jesus himself in the road, defending a victim from an attacker, wouldn't get far without violence.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-09-01 06:41 pm (UTC)
Fair point.

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[User Picture]From: steepholm
2013-09-01 10:00 pm (UTC)
I'm also at a loss to know what the Good Samaritan would have done with a gun if he'd had one. Performed a mercy-killing on the victim of the robbery? Certainly not confronted the robber, who had left long before his arrival. I leave you to gauge how far the analogy with the current sitation holds, or is helpful.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-09-02 07:38 am (UTC)
I think it holds good insofar as the interventionists are talking of their missile strike as an act of mercy. I concede that you can't push it too far.
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2013-09-01 08:21 pm (UTC)
He's a murderous despot who has taken the measure of the president of the United States and sees nothing to fear.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-09-01 08:25 pm (UTC)
You see, I'm just not sure he's responsible for this particular atrocity. To be honest, in situations like this I don't trust anyone- but anyone- to be telling the truth.
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[User Picture]From: heleninwales
2013-09-02 08:48 am (UTC)
I don't trust anyone to tell the truth either. What is that saying about "truth being the first casualty of war"?

My main objection to intervening is that it won't punish the person/people it's supposed to punish and it will make the ordinary Syrian's life more miserable and, by weakening the government, aid the fanatical Muslim rebels who we really don't want to see in power. How exactly would that help?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-09-02 11:30 am (UTC)
I believe that was something Churchill said. He was in a position to know.

I wholly agree with your arguments against intervention.
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2013-09-02 01:54 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure he's behind the atrocity either, but he's still a murderous thug who has taken the measure of Mr. Obama and doesn't feel any particular need to placate him. EDIT: But I think we've already demonstrated that taking out a murderous thug doesn't make a middle eastern country any healthier for its residents. I am hoping our Congress (and our people) send Mr. Obama a stinging message on the wisdom of publicly announcing red lines.

Edited at 2013-09-02 01:56 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-09-02 08:53 pm (UTC)
You shouldn't make threats or promises unless you are prepared and have the ability to carry through. Obama's red line was a hostage to fortune. Cameron made a similar mistake- promising Obama his support before making sure he had the backing of parliament.

I'm not particularly impressed by the calibre of the current leadership of the western world.
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2013-09-03 12:37 pm (UTC)
"I'm not particularly impressed by the calibre of the current leadership of the western world."

Indeed, and in surveying the field for 2016 presidential candidates, I see nothing but mediocrity and self-dealing clear to the horizon, with the possible exception of the principled scariness of Rand Paul.
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[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2013-09-01 09:10 pm (UTC)
The timing of that attack - while the weapons inspectors where visiting - is very suspicious, but if that is true, has Assad actually denied making the attack?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-09-02 07:40 am (UTC)
I believe Assad has denied making the attack. But then he would, wouldn't he?
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